The New York Islanders have started the season 1-3 and already the doom of days past is setting in.
We’re four games into the New York Islanders 2016-17 season and panic has already set in. On one hand, it’s four games and a cheeseburger sized Valium would seem in order. It’s just four games and there’s a lot of hockey left to be played.
On the other hand, we’re Islanders fans and therefore programmed to glass half full skepticism. Or perhaps more aptly, the sky is falling type terror. Not for nothing, these are feelings based within years of futility and continually being the brunt of the joke.
We don’t want to go back there.
So the Isles are four games into the season and they’ve possibly shown up for three or four out of twelve regulation periods. This is same stuff, different day territory so there’s concern which ultimately leads to panic in Islesverse.
The power play is still useless. John Tavares has two points in four games, but more disturbingly is getting his butt handed to him in a dangerous way. He needs more time to learn Andrew Ladd, who has yet to begin earning his big contract. Travis Hamonic and Nick Leddy have been downright awful and Thomas Hickey has been their best defenseman. True story.
So there are quite a few questions that need to be answered. Is Hamonic a top pair d-man; will the power play stop embarrassing itself; will Tavares succeed despite management’s inability to equip him with skilled players?
As much as those questions need answers, there’s one larger concern because Garth Snow is yet again placing the team’s success on the team’s younger players.
How is it that years of drafting and developing prospects has led nowhere? Since 2008 the Islanders have actually developed how many top prospects into high caliber NHL players FOR them?
The answer to this is one. And I’m saying one because I’m not counting John Tavares. He was a sure thing that not even the Islanders could have messed up. And don’t think for a minute that there isn’t a possibility that he hasn’t been able to live up to his full potential because of the Islanders.
So we have one high caliber NHL player to come through the Islanders system and that’s if you consider Hamonic high caliber. There are quality NHLers with Calvin de Haan, Casey Cizikas, and Josh Bailey.
Where does that leave Ryan Strome, Anders Lee, and Brock Nelson? Are they not the high end prospects once believed? Or, maybe they’re heading more down the path of Bailey – disappointing turnout from a top prospect, but capable NHLer. How are the Islanders just full of kids who now can’t round out the top six of their lineup or even produce consistently?
Nelson might be the only one who doesn’t belong in this list because of age and goal production, but imagine if that guy didn’t disappear for long periods of time? Is there something out there that can motivate him towards consistency?
How it that management came to the conclusion that Ryan Strome needed to play center and he is now back on a wing? They admitted their culpability with his development and yet they’re repeating the mistake.
Against the San Jose Sharks, the Islanders had that last minute power play and Anders Lee was nowhere to be found. That leads to the conclusion that he isn’t being put in a situation to succeed.
What happens to Adam Pelech, Ryan Pulock, Joshua Ho-Sang, Mathew Barzal, and Anthony Beauvillier? Are these guys doomed to become just more names in a long list of failed Isles prospects? Is this organization the place where kids’ careers come to die?
Hey, we have a flair for the dramatic around these parts, but it’s grounded in some reality called precedent.
P.A. Parenteau was waived to make room for who? Barzal? Beauvillier? Beauvillier hasn’t embarrassed himself but for all his skill, has played limited minutes. Barzal did make a mistake and hasn’t seen the lineup since. Barzal and Strome will certainly have a lot to talk about.
Then we’ve got Quine and rational thought says he’s the one that stays. Maybe because the kid’s on a one way deal and the Isles don’t want to waive him. Folks, Quine scored one big goal and his entire legend right now is based on that.
Ho-Sang is in Bridgeport when he’s got the speed and skill to play with Tavares. Not to mention, he had a pretty darn good camp.
So what’s the future for these guys with current management and coaching? That’s the actual question and the concern is history is just going to keep repeating itself. Someone is failing and it’s too coincidental to be every young prospect the Islanders have inserted into their lineup since 2010.
That’s why we panic.